The Disabled Veterans National Foundation is urging disabled veterans and their families to get the help of claims preparers when filing for benefits as a way to getting faster results.
A Department of Veterans Affairs goal is to get veterans with combat-related disabilities the help they need faster in the face of a nationwide backlog of benefit claims. The VA’s push reflects the reality that veterans face a long and often frustrating process of filing and waiting for benefits due to a challenging claims process. The VA relies on accredited, independent claims preparers, which are usually offered free of charge by local governments or veterans service organizations. The preparers can help veterans with lengthy claims applications that require extensive medical and other documentation. The VA believes independent preparers can speed the payment of veterans benefits by helping cut down on filing errors. According to the agency, errors contribute to more than 700,000 claims backlogged nationally, and several months delay in benefits payments. “We hope that the benefit claims process does speed up,” said Precilla Wilkewitz, president of the DVNF. “There is already the challenge that our veterans tend to be too proud to ask for assistance in the first place. If the claims process is too cumbersome, it can deter veterans from seeking help they truly need.”